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Joeseph Reaves v. Michael Wenerowicz

December 13, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul S. Diamond, J.


Petitioner Joseph Reaves has filed pro se Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation regarding his Petition for habeas relief. (Doc. Nos. 1, 24, 26); 28 U.S.C. § 2254. I will overrule Petitioner's Objections, deny his request for an evidentiary hearing, approve and adopt the Report and Recommendation, and deny his Petition and his Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. Nos. 26, 24, 1, 13.)


On April 4, 1988, Petitioner pled guilty in Pennsylvania state court to rape, robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and involuntary deviant sexual intercourse. (Doc. No. 1 at 4.) On July 28, 1988, Petitioner was sentenced to an aggregated term of 22 1/2 to 90 years incarceration. On May 26, 2010, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole granted Petitioner parole, subject to his entry into a Community Corrections Residency and compliance with the Residency's rules. (Doc. No. 8, Ex. C at 1-2.) Petitioner could not be accepted into a CCR unless the Parole Board approved a "Home Plan" proposed by Petitioner. The Parole Board required as part of any Home Plan that Petitioner reside more than 1000 feet from any school or school bus stop. Petitioner has remained incarcerated because he has been unable to gain entry to a Residency or receive approval for a Home Plan.

Petitioner filed a pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on January 19, 2012, arguing, inter alia, that his continued detention violates: (1) the Constitution's Ex Post Facto Clause, (2) his guilty plea agreement (Petitioner's "breach of contract" claim), (3) the Due Process Clause, and (4) the Equal Protection Clause. (Doc. No. 24 at 3.) He also alleged that prison officials' failure to respond to several of his request slips and their subsequent retaliations violated the Eighth Amendment. Petitioner filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on April 24, 2012. (Doc. No. 13.) On June 26, 2012, the Magistrate Judge filed a Report and Recommendation, concluding that the Petition and Motion for Summary Judgment should be denied in their entirety. (Doc. No. 24.)

Petitioner has objected to each of the Magistrate Judge's conclusions. (Doc. No. 26.)


I must review de novo those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which timely, specific objections have been filed. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). I can "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part" the Magistrate Judge's findings or recommendations. Id.

As to those portions to which no objections have been filed, I need only "satisfy [myself] that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) advisory committee's note; see Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 878 (3d Cir. 1987) (discussing district court's responsibility "to afford some level of review" when no objections have been filed).


A.Ex Post Facto Clause

Petitioner argues that the Parole Board violated the Ex Post Facto Clause by (1) rejecting Petitioner's proposed Home Plans because they provided that he would reside within 1000 feet of a school or school bus stop, and (2) requiring sex offenders to go to Community Correction Residency. In response, the Parole Board eventually submitted full reports of each denied Home Plan, some of which were placed under seal to protect confidences made to parole officers.

The Magistrate Judge concluded that the 1000 foot requirement contravened the Ex Post Facto Clause because it was adopted after November 13, 1987, the date of Petitioner's crimes. The Magistrate Judge also concluded, however, that the Ex Post Facto Clause was not implicated because the Parole Board rejected Petitioner's Home Plans for reasons other than the 1000 foot condition. Finally, the Magistrate Judge concluded that "Parole Board policies in effect in 1987 [support] the conclusion that the equivalent of CCRs existed in 1987." (Doc. No. 24 at 9 n.6.) Accordingly, the CCR requirement was not an Ex Post Facto Clauseviolation.

Petitioner objects to these conclusions, arguing that the Parole Board's sole basis for rejecting the 705 Second Street Home Plan was the 1000 foot condition. (Doc. No. 26 at 3, 5-6.) Petitioner infers from this ex post facto violation that the 1000 foot condition was the Parole Board's basis for denying the 516 Grier Street Home Plan that is under seal. Finally, Petitioner argues that because the Parole Board did not implement the CCR requirement until after 1987, it violates the Ex Post Facto Clause. Petitioner also argues the Magistrate Judge did not address his claim that the supervision fee requirement also violates the Ex Post Facto Clause.

Home Plans Objections

Petitioner argues that the Investigation Report for 705 Second Street shows a violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause because the Parole Board's only basis for denying the Plan was the proposed residences' proximity to the bus stop and children. (Doc. 26 at 3.) Petitioner infers from that violation that the sealed report for 516 Grier Street also makes out an Ex Post Facto Clause violation.

Having reviewed the Investigation Reports and sealed explanations, I agree with the Magistrate Judge that each denial was based on valid reasons other than the 1000 feet condition. For instance, Home Plans were rejected because the proposed residence could not inspected or was not amendable to electronic monitoring. I agree with the Magistrate Judge ...

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